Compiled by Josphat Makaza: Environmental Community Monitor-Chiadzwa Community Development Trust.
Traditional leaders and environmental monitors who attended the workshop.
Agreeing with Terre des hommes and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s emphasis that justice is not only important to the current generations but to the next and future generations, traditional leaders have made a commitment that they will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the mining site and the mining community is a safe place for children and youth.
There is no way
Zimbabwe can achieve sustainable mining without taking into consideration the
plight, needs and aspirations of children living near mines.
At a workshop held at St Andrews in
Marange the local leadership comprising village heads, headmen and councilors from Marange and Chimanimani said
their structures and functions
and cemented on
issues affecting adults in communities. The four days capacity building
workshop was also attended by environmental monitors and representatives from community-based
The workshop was organised by the Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association and Terre des hommes.
headman Chiadzwa, Mirirai Chiadzwa said the recognition of Environmental Child
Rights must start at the grassroots level and with all stakeholders involved.
“Look at our village assembly, the seven-member
committee, we do not have children and youth in this structure”, This does not
necessarily mean that the house is in order,” said Mr Chiadzwa.
He explained that
the mining operations by both formal and informal miners has posed serious threats
to the welfare of children. The invisible dust from mine blast
and the mine dumps are
for our children but contributing
social ills befalling children living near mines.”
every local leader has a right to protect children from economic exploitation
and from perfoming any work that is likely to be hazardous.
Mrs Beullar Mawoyo a village head in Chiadzwa ward said
the children are silent victims and wholly welcomed the multi stakeholder
approach by ZELA.
” Having them
in our structures alone is not the solution, ” she said, but affording
them a chance to freely express themselves at Dare whilst we are listening is what
said he is fascinated by situtional reports on the impacts of covid 19 on
children produced by ZELA and community monitors in Marange during the covid 19
imposed lock down.
The reports had
shown an increase in child pregnancies, child labour and child abuses faced by
children living near mines.
The children must
have access to justice including effective remedies for and reparation of human
rights violations due to environmental harm.
participants ZELA Legal Officer Miss Josephine Chiname said traditional leaders
should make use of the legal and constitutional provisions that promote and
support Environmental Child Rights in spearheading the agenda.
sets out the functions of traditional leaders within their area of jurisdiction
and as leaders your duty is to promote and uphold the cultural values of
communities whilst promoting sound family values,” said Miss Chiname.
The Legal officer
encouraged traditional leaders to make use of the Taditional Leaders Act
Chapter 29:17. She explained that it is the duty of traditional leaders to
ensure that the land and its natural resources are used and exploited in terms
of the law, controlling overgrazing and generally preventing the degradation,
abuse and misuse of natural resources.
mining communities’ traditional leaders had achieved a milestone making use of
the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27 through participation in
Environmenal Impact Assesment processes and a continuous monitoring of mining
company compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment document,’’ she
Rodrick Moyo ZELA
Official emphasized on the need for dessermination of environmental information
to youth and children and the need for
the, to fully participate in EIA
“The EIA is a
legal requirement and child participation is a critical element that requires
the participation of all stakeholders,” he said.
Moyo said the
Environmental Management Agency (EMA), local media, traditional chiefs, local
authorities, local communities, and community-based organisations all have a
pivotal role to play. He encouraged traditional leaders to embrace the voices
of children and ensure that they are not left behind.
He however said participation is not the end but a
means to an end adding that it lays the foundation for children to be